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Track days: car or motobike?

montrose818

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This is probably my midlife crisis, get into some type of enthusiast racing / track days. However I keep going back and fourth between car and moto.

The pro for the moto is I am better at them. Ive put far more miles driving hard on moto than cars, and feel them better. It seems much easier for me to be better at it. Repair and running costs are MUCH elss. The con of course is injury. On the street my enemies are shorts + slippers, cars, and walls. On the track its full leather and none of the others. But the risk of spinal injury remains.

Cars, well I would be starting from scratch kind of. Very little "driving hard" experience, feeling the rear end come out and counter steer, I can pick this up it will just take some seat time. Running costs will be much higher. But the pro is.. seems safer.

Is this even a fair comparison? Am I getting into a death trap tracking hard on two wheels? It certainly cant be more dangerous than riding in L.A.

I know Priest and some of youse track.. curious if anyone considered bikes before deciding.

Kthnxbye :grinpimp:
 
Well, safety is not guaranteed in any sport. I did track days for a number of years on my zx6. If you ride in the C group you can kinda hang back and not push it balls to the wall and be relatively safe. C group riders give lots of space, they dont aggressively try to pass anyone and are not in a 'race prep' mentality. People still crash but it is mostly single rider low sides and majority are able to pick up the bike. But as you hone your skills you get faster and naturally want to push your limits until they kick you out of C group

When you go to B group it is like double the speed and then you have a mix of A group (racers) and guys that just came out of C group. Riders are wayyy faster and you still give a wide berth when passing them but you can tell other people will pass you more agressively. Not like slam the door on you, but they will get up and show you a wheel kinda forcing you to back off.
 
Get a Miata and thrash it for a while. As cheap as a bike but more stuff between your skin and the pavement.
 
Get a Miata and thrash it for a while. As cheap as a bike but more stuff between your skin and the pavement.

This. If you can't be quick in a Miata then you won't be fast in anything. It is a great place to start and there is huge aftermarket support.
 
Buy a cheap car of just about any flavor and autocross it. About the safest racing you can do, and you just need a car and a helmet.
 
I'm not a sport bike guy, just motocross and enduro/trail for much of my life. I gave it up 4 years back because I was sick of getting hurt. Even on slower technical trails I would end up laying the bike over and spraining fingers on the handguards, or other dumb injuries. I wasn't satisfied to just putt on moderate trails and always pushed a little bit more. I also used to love sporty compact euro cars and drove them faster on the road than I should have, but those days are also behind me.

Do you still ride, and are you the kind of rider who will never give up 2 wheels? Are you going to be happy cruising on the track on something like a 600cc sport bike in the slower group, or will you want to wring out a liter bike and really push it? If you know you can take it easy and stay within your skill level, you should be okay with moto track days. Invest in all the safety gear you can, take some track-oriented training, and go have fun.

BUT... There's something to be said for buying a lightly prepped Miata. You can get all the feeling of speed and drama with much less risk. It will be something new and exciting for you. Take as much training and coaching as possible and you'll have a blast. And worst case scenario, you don't like it and sell the car in a year or two for what you paid for it.

What are your local tracks like? What groups run them most often?
 
Got several tracks in the nearby area, most popular one being Willow Springs. Ive never been to any tracks or forums, so no idea what groups run.

I considered supermoto as well, as I rode one in the streets for about a year and it was super fun, so thats an option too. 600cc bikes are plenty fast for me. I sold my KTM about 6 months ago and my eyes are wandering already.

Id love to do a mix of dirt, looked into rally stuff too, slower speeds = safer? Saw dirt oval on TV the other day and it looks cool, but I dont think anyone in the area does it.

Miatas are still a thing? Ill have to look at them, thanks
 
Perhaps you sign up for some instructions and see if you are cut out for it.

Spec Miata is still a thing, if you want a more powerful Miata there are fellas running 400hp plus with snails on them, for NA power there are also K20/LS swaps as well.
Bring a wallet, racing isn’t cheap. I would recommend you pick up a Spec Miata car built, if it doesn’t work out you can get most of your investment back if purchased right.

Like someone suggested parking lot racing (auto cross) is fun.

All that said I like to go at my own pace and no interest in anything organized, my NB Miata is set up for grip with sticky tires/coil overs/brakes/bracing etc... First couple years I had it I really got on it and was was driving it 8-9 10ths at my favorite local twisty roads. As I modded the car from stock to current iteration I slowed down as the car had gotten a lot faster for the street (basically not worth killing a random cyclist or other motorist).

Still thinking of an Exocet conversion now and then, just not sure I can justify it as a full on track rat vehicle. I much prefer driving in the nearby canyons instead.


One thing you didn’t mention is shifter kart, those I think would be a hoot to drive fast and likely cost peanuts in consumables versus car/motorcycle, that Chapman fella that started Lotus had it right: remove the weight - add power.
 
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Well, safety is not guaranteed in any sport. I did track days for a number of years on my zx6. If you ride in the C group you can kinda hang back and not push it balls to the wall and be relatively safe. C group riders give lots of space, they dont aggressively try to pass anyone and are not in a 'race prep' mentality. People still crash but it is mostly single rider low sides and majority are able to pick up the bike. But as you hone your skills you get faster and naturally want to push your limits until they kick you out of C group

When you go to B group it is like double the speed and then you have a mix of A group (racers) and guys that just came out of C group. Riders are wayyy faster and you still give a wide berth when passing them but you can tell other people will pass you more agressively. Not like slam the door on you, but they will get up and show you a wheel kinda forcing you to back off.



“B” group is what we call Thunderdome:lmao:
 
Montrose, first thing to check out would be what track days are avalible for at the tracks you want to drive or ride.
Check out the regulations for the track days and maybe go spectate a few and talk to the guys doing it. Track days aren't racing and if the organizers think you are racing you may get thrown out.

Cars are safer, but you can crash anything and hurt yourself if you drive or ride beyond your skills.

Do you already have a bike for track riding, or would you have to buy one.

You can spend tons of money either way if you so desire, won't necessarily make you any faster either.

many tracks have rental and or instruction days that you could check out before deciding to spend a bunch.
 
Rttoys does motorcycles and it looks like a blast. He is a hell of a rider through. If you are a good rider, I would think moto, but cars could be fun too. Maybe go spectate events of each and talk to some of the participants.
 
Rttoys does motorcycles and it looks like a blast. He is a hell of a rider through. If you are a good rider, I would think moto, but cars could be fun too. Maybe go spectate events of each and talk to some of the participants.

Thanks. :smokin:

I run on the “safer” end of the motorcycles and run a 300cc ninja for track days and CMRA. Track days I’m “fast”. CMRA racing.......I’m pretty slow. Hell, I have been doing it for 5 years and I’m still a “novice”, But I’m out there doing it and having fun. On a 300, maintenance costs is minimal and reliability is pretty high. Since you are at slower speeds, the threats of major injury or death are lower, but never zero. Also, on a small bike, you actually learn how to ride. I do run my Ducati on bigger tracks like COTA, but that’s only once a year or so. If you want to go smaller and more giggleness fun, get a Grom and run it on a mini track, like a go kart track. It’s a new level of simple fun.

i just got back yesterday from New Orleans Motorsport park racing the 300 in CMRA. The best I did was 18th out of 20something bikes in my category. Still had fun.

I also run SCCA autocross in my Goblin kit car. It’s a ton of fun for the price. Roughly a 1 mile course, in a parking lot running around some cones as fast as possible. Since you never really get over about 60mph, even if (when) you spin out, you just spin and move on. It’s not a big deal. Again, not insane speeds, so the risk is much lower, but the thrill and fun is there.

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Rttoys does motorcycles and it looks like a blast. He is a hell of a rider through. If you are a good rider, I would think moto, but cars could be fun too. Maybe go spectate events of each and talk to some of the participants.

yea i have videos of him passing me:lmao:


 
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I don’t know what’s better, the passes or the commentary. :lmao:

we still gotta do Barber. :smokin:
 
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As far as OP goes, I really regret not owning a Super sport level of bike on any CC my bike can do everything but none of it well. I have a yamaha fz8. i rode a honda 400 in a super sport chassis and it felt more agile than my bike.

Im inching closer to buying a wrecked or a track only 600cc in a super sport and trading my fz8 in on a FJR for street shit

I don’t know what’s better, the passes or the commentary. :lmao:
wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==


we still gotta do Barber. :smokin:
wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==

yup, bike is faster since COTA but the same as MSRH
 
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As far as OP goes, I really regret not owning a Super sport level of bike on any CC my bike can do everything but none of it well. I have a yamaha fz8. i rode a honda 400 in a super sport chassis and it felt more agile than my bike.

Im inching closer to buying a wrecked or a track only 600cc in a super sport and trading my fz8 in on a FJR for street shit



yup, bike is faster since COTA but the same as MSRH

I’m debating on racing Hallett in may again, but tornadoes and stuff. :rolleyes:

the new ninja 400, is a hell of a bike to run. A race prep’d sv650 might be perfect for you, because of your size, though.

I’ll bring both of my bikes to barber because I can’t trust the ducky and it’s quirkiness. Just like cota a few months ago. :rolleyes:
 
Can only respond for bikes...first time you put a knee down causes permasmile...it never gets old...

J
 
So I guess supermoto is for retards, since no one seems to have even mentioned it besides me?
 
.....................................................................
Still thinking of an Exocet conversion ............................................

Did someone send out the bat signal for me?

I got a couple of Exocets I am selling end this year.

Swap your suspension stuff for the stock stuff on the Exo and sell off your Miata.

Be the most cost effective way to have one.
 
About 2 years ago, I hit my first line (track day in a car), since then I have been fully consumed. I have always had a healthy appetite for hobbies, from offroad toys to boats, motorcycles, and even airplanes, but nothing has consumed me as much as tracking a car. I am now about 35 track days in, on my second car. Not saying the moto thing is not as good, as it probably is, just thinking either way you go be prepared to have your whole life consumed by trying to find a few tenths of a second.
 
I don't know how track days work in the US. I hope it's you get to follow certain regs and run what you brung. In that case I want to do cars and build a car from scratch. It's easier than building a buggy. I think semi-open wheel mid-power cars like the ariel atom v8 must be the ultimate driving experience, and I think I can replicate that for under $10,000 chassis and $10,000 in engine. I think it would be fun and easy to design a suspension and tune it to perfection.

If you couldn't basically run your own racing outfit at track days, then my interest in them would drop to Zero.

It would be nice if there were larger road circuits, and I'd like to play around with designing a very powerful, fuel efficient engine. Say 1,000 horsepower and 25mpg overall (performance runs excluded). How hard could that be? Not very hard IMO and I that's another vefhicle I'd love to pull off and develop on my own. I guess I can't see why 60mpg isn't possible with 1,000 horsepower practically available, and completely smooth. With Summit racing level parts.

I also want to do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK4wzBYmTIo


Where did that thing go? I've seen a couple other versions of the concept, but this just died out. The leaning controls should be EASY to adapt from a bunch of other electronics that have come out since this show aired. This should now be easily possible and I want one. I want a track day to develop it.
 
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A race prep’d sv650 might be perfect for you, because of your size, though.

I have a clean/all stock/never been down or dropped 18' SV650 available for anyone interested :p

So I guess supermoto is for retards, since no one seems to have even mentioned it besides me?

engineerjoe used to race supermoto competitively... he's lurking here somewhere.
 
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